Originally Posted by shmt
A quick query in the German patent databases reveals that Loewe Opta AG indeed holds or has applied to some patents that you would consider as necessary for the kind of products Apple is likely to offer when entering the telly market. I'm not at all an expert in patent matters, though.
The stuff is all in German, you might find equivalent applications at the European Patent office in English.
DE102009059281B4 covers the communication between an "entertainment electronics device" and a "communication electronics device", so basically your telly and your iOS device. EED sends EPG data to the CED (apparently via an intermediary device), nicely wrapped in XML; CED with touch control allows you to navigate, browse the program, probably preview (hard to decipher that patent lingo) and control the EED by pushing the symbol for the show you want to see towards the telly (which somehow knows the CED's location).
DE102010038159A1 covers "displays with adjustable transparency" (as an "Offenlegungsschrift", document of disclosure, it's not a granted patent yet, though). The display is characterised by: transparent liquid crystals; organic diodes (OLEDs); polarizer to control intensity of light going through the transparent display; ability to control transparency for specific light waves lengths (allows adjustment to different environments); and some more stuff.
EP000002249559A3 covers regular expressions for EPGs.
A three docs were published in 2012.
Originally Posted by digitalclips
I think your summed this debate up best here ...
"I'm not sure what Apple is going to perfect or what Jobs thought he cracked."
To which I'd say ... "Exactly!"
I am sure the exact same comment was made pre iPhone and iPad from those already familiar with the then current phone and tablet markets.
My point is it may well be a lot of fun and enlightening when we see it (what ever it is)... having said that of course even when we see it (assuming there is an it) most won't 'get it' at first just as they didn't with iPhone and iPad and heck I could add GUI to that mix back in 1984 ... "What use is a mouse?"
We have AT&T U-verse. When we use the god-awful remote and UI to change programs here's what happens:
1) I set down the iPad I normally have in my lap and try to find, then pick up, the U-verse remote.
2) I press the "favorites" or some other buttons to try and navigate the butt-ugly UI.
3) A series of text screens are shown on the TV, sometimes with a small picture-in-picture showing a preview of a potential selection.4)
4) whatever show is currently playing continues to play in the background.
So, basicly, the U-verse STB is streaming two separate concurrent streams to the HDTV: 1) the current "show" in the background; 2) the "navigation UI" overlay in the foreground.
I suspect that other cable and satellite STBs work in a similar manner.
What Loewe apparently has done is put some intelligence in its HDTV to recognize and separate these two streams and:
1) continue playing the current show on the HDTV.
2) communicate the navigation information to/from an iPad (WiFi, BT?) where a much better touch navigation system is presented.
In effect, the Loewe intelligence acts as a separate logical "UI box" positioned between the carrier STB and the HDTV.
That is exactly the "position" needed to "crack" the TV UI problem -- "the last foot".
The beauty of all this is that the "logical UI box" can be built into the TV or can be a separate physical box like the AppleTV:
---> cable signal--->carrier STB-->AppleTV--->HDTV
instead of the current, unmanageable:
---> cable signal--->carrier STB--->HDTV
Now, that has real potential!